The crowd chanted Joakim Noah‘s name during the hard-driving forward’s first win in a New York Knicks uniform. But the gritty play of Noah — six points, 10 boards, seven assists — was just one of a selection of things the Madison Square Garden faithful had to cheer about. Balanced scoring and outstanding first half defense powered the newly configured Knicks to victory against the Memphis Grizzlies 111-104. Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony led the team with 21 and 20 respectively.
But it was the Knicks defense — something virtually absent since the days Mike Woodson roamed the sidelines — that set up the win. Memphis has a lot of scoring weapons, yet the Knicks held Zach Randolph and company to just 19 first quarter points. Derrick Rose, also playing his first home game at the Garden, contributed intimidating defense, utilizing his still evident quickness and strength.